My recollection is as clear as if Doe were standing here today. Deer happened upon me and gazed on my face for several seconds before moving on. Her gentleness continues to be a stunning memory.

In the stillness of what we called Silent Moments, I was sitting in a clearing in the woods at church camp. With only a few thoughts and a scripture passage typed out on a piece of paper, our counselors sent us out each evening, to still ourselves in nature. Deer met me there.

Deer was the presence that invited me into contemplation. Now, many years later, in spiritual direction sessions, I draw wisdom from our meeting. When a pause seems more fitting than another question, I recall being face to face with Deer in the dusk. There were no words that evening, only a grace-filled presence that made a deep impression on me.

One of the personal gifts in companioning individuals on their journeys is that I get to go back and offer gentleness to myself. As I extend a safe space to one who is discerning next steps, invariably, and in hindsight, I realize that I offered myself, the same. Honoring the connection among all people and creation creates a reciprocal flow.

My spiritual companions and I create symbolic pieces of art that mentor us. They become visual reminders of our aspirations. These creations assist us in redefining the past, pulling up courage to make a change, accepting what we cannot change or, in short, choosing life.

We take mini pilgrimages, hiking in the desert or up a mountainside. We visit places deemed sacred or find once mere holes in dirt walls, now shrines that pilgrims decorate with their prayers. Together we listen to the land laugh at our limited concept of time.

Deer models the wisdom of balance and the sometimes-necessary quick change of direction. Deer demonstrates agility as we attempt to leap over obstacles that hinder our moving forward, and gentleness as we go back to address the pits of our lives, those wounds waiting to become sacred.

For individual retreat or companioning information, email lisa@SacredWithin.Us

Sacred Ruminations*